‘British tourist’ returns to Manila as international artist

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MARK BONIFACIO

Calum Scott had been to Manila before the world got to know through his music. He vividly remembered how fun it was here, not to mention his first tricycle ride.

In March, he returned to the Philippines not as a tourist but as an international recording artist, with Manila part of his “Only Human” multi-city tour, days before the debut album officially released worldwide.

“To be here as a music artist is really amazing. It’s very special for me to come here because I’ve been wanting visit the Philippines for a long time,” Scott beamed in an interview a few hours before his show at The Shangri-La Plaza Grand Atrium.

Scott became popular via reality competition “Britain’s Got Talent,” where he performed his poignant version of Robyn’s 2010 electro-pop classic, “Dancing On My Own.” After emerging as a semi-finalist, he self-released the track hit on iTunes across 11 countries. The song became the best-selling UK single by a British solo artist in 2016.


“I heavily related to those lyrics, as far as being gay and not knowing how to be OK with it,” he says of Dancing On My Own on his bio. “I’d had many situations where I watched someone get into a relationship and wanted so badly for it to happen to me.”

Since the song is about unrequited love, this was his advice to those experiencing it: “I’ve experienced unrequited love many times—I think we all have. I think it’s just part of life. It’s not something that’s not just gonna go away. It’s love and it’s unpredictable. I’m glad that I’ve had those experiences because they make you stronger,” the 29-year-old signer said.

After drawing raves for his breakthrough cover, Scott decided to start writing his own material. With his first attempts including a deeply personal track about coming out to his father, the British vocalist discovered the cathartic power of songwriting.

Calum Scott PHOTO BY JUDE NG

This resulted in his debut album where he looked to the lessons learned in his first songwriting experience and decided to title it Only Human.

Made with producers like Fraser T. Smith (Adele, Ellie Goulding), Jayson DeZuzio (Skylar Grey, Imagine Dragons) and Oscar Gorres (Taylor Swift, Britney Spears), Only Human showcases the tender yet commanding vocal work he’s recently displayed with artists like Emeli Sande.

In releasing his original material for the first time, Scott reveals the rare gift of his songwriting – an intense vulnerability that somehow leaves the listener more hopeful and assured.

The lead single “You Are The Reason” embodies Scott’s singular ability to transform pain into beauty. While it began as meditation on anxiety and its triggers, the gently uplifting track evolved into a story of celebration.

The single also has a duet version with “X-Factor UK” winner and British superstar Leona Lewis.

“Leona Lewis is one of the most talented woman I’ve ever had the pleasure meeting. I’ve watched her through the same experience as myself on X-Factor and then into a superstar. To have Leona sing a song like this, I know I freaked, by a superstar, is a big deal, but me and Leona are like friends now. It’s amazing that music has actually brought me new experiences. Singing with an artist for the very first time and with Leona Lewis is a dream come true.”

Besides Dancing On My Own, the album also carries the starkly arranged and gorgeously fragile cover of Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet.” Other tracks include “Hotel Room,” “Only You,” “What I Miss Most,” and a song for his sister “Won’t Let You Down.”

He declared that a signature Calum Scott sound would be emotional.

“It will be giving you all the feels that make you wanna cry and probably be sad. I love the whole singing around the piano and just playing some music and just feeling what it is that I wanna write.”

Before joinng Britain’s Got Talent, Scott was a human resource employee. His dream collaborations include Adele, his friend Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris, Camila Cabello and Drake.

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